Penultimate Day 2016

Today is December 30, 2016, the penultimate day of the year, a day I review and contemplate the events of the year and, hopefully, set goals and intentions for the coming year.

This was the year I went into retirement. Early in the year I got a temporary position through someone I had worked with at AME. He was with a small company in Dayton that was switching over to a new domain and needed to have all of their laptops along with a few PCs reimaged and configured for the new network. I expected it to be about a six-week job but it stretched into about three months. When I finished that project, I still had about a month before my first Social Security check came in so things got a little tight.

Somehow I managed to get by without additional employment although I did resort to pulling money out of my IRA and nearly wiping out the savings account. I will probably have to find some part-time work to supplement my retirement income. Who knows what’s going to happen when the new administration takes over. What will I do? I don’t know. Computer maintenance is what I do but the prospect continuing with that is rather depressing.

Over the spring and summer months, Tina and I began taking walks together. When the weather was nice, we’d walk in one of two city parks. Sometimes, we’d go to the mall and walk a few laps around each level. The exercise was good and it was nice to spend time together.

Tina made a two-month journey to the Philippines in September. She saved money to pay for it although I ended up contributing some from the IRA money I’d pulled for household projects.

Almost none of the money I extracted from my IRA for home improvement was actually used for that purpose. That’s what usually happens. Car repairs, a new roof, a new water heater, and her trip all cut into it.

I started the process of getting the roof replaced in July after neglecting it for nearly a decade. Working with the contractor and the insurance company, I got it replaced with out of pocket costs coming to less than a grand. The work got done at the end of September. It looks good, it doesn’t leak, and it’s properly ventilated. I’d still like to replace the gutters or at least repait them and finish the gutter guards.

While she was gone, my dad and my sister Laura came down to get a battery I’d borrowed and to see the Air Force Museum. On the way down he had a mild stroke though we didn’t see any definite signs until we’d seen most of the museum. We got him to the ER near my house and they rushed him down to Kettering Medical Center.

His stroke was attributed to atrial fibrillation (Afib). Apparently, he has a slightly irregular heartbeat that causes a heart valve to flutter which thickens the blood, causing a clot. He had another stroke just after they started him on Eliquist but before it had a chance to take effect.

After a few days, they moved him down to inpatient rehab where he made fantastic progress. How many 82-year-old men would be doing a polka with their therapist a week after a stroke? Laura and Erin took him home a couple of days later and he’s been doing well since then. Early this month, Joan moved back up from Florida to help take care of him. He probably does need more supervision now.

I have nothing but praise for the doctors, nurses, therapists, and everyone else to played a role while in his care at Kettering.

My major project while she was away was to have the bathroom done before she got back. I did what I could to smooth out and reduce the concrete in that corner. While ceramic or porcelain tile would have been nice, it would have involved a lot more work than I was really willing to put into it. It would have been more expensive and I really didn’t have the funds to pursue it. I installed 12-inch squares of vinyl tile and it looks good. As expected, I had some trouble around the toilet but, although not perfect, it looks good. I put in an exhaust fan, new baseboards, a new toilet, and towel racks and hooks. There are still a few cosmetic things that still need to be done but I have a fully functional bathroom and she’s happy.

During that time, the water heater went out and I spent about $1800 getting that replaced. Of course, there were complications. Nobody makes water heaters the same size as the one that died so I had to get one with a larger diameter which was more difficult to fit in the confined space of my utility closet. I also had to have
the gas line to the heater rerouted. The old gas line had been routed behind the heater and circled around the front. With one of these homes, nothing is ever as simple and straightforward as it should be.

Early in the year we switched from an electric range to a gas range. I was tired of continually replacing burners. Getting the gas line modified with a shut off valve significantly added to the cost but it was the project was worthwhile. She’s been doing a lot of cooking for Filipino friends and cooking with gas has been a lot more efficient and has cut down on my electric bill without a proportional increase in my gas bill though that could change this winter.

I added a second garden box and built one for the kids. Our garden really didn’t produce as much as we’d hoped. In the spring I plan to remove the dirt and move the boxes to an area of the backyard that will get more sunlight. I think we may have tried to grow too much. I’m going to research something called the square-foot method and give that a try. We may even grow some plants in large pots or something.

During the summer Abigail took an interest in a new Filipino dance group, Sayaw FilipinOH. The group split off from the Phil-AM Pamana dancers and in addition to traditional Filipino folk dances, they do some hip-hop dances. She really seems to enjoy it and has made solid friendships with everyone in the group. As a result, Tina and I have also become more involved in the group.

This year was more eventful than I’d anticipated when I began this review. I guess I did manage to be active this year.

Do I have any goals, resolutions, or intentions for the coming year? I have never had much success with setting goals and intentions in the past and I have no reason to believe that will change. Simplify my life and take better care of myself. How’s that? Oh, and post on this blog more often.

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